Erich Solenthaler examines the steps being taken to rescue the Federal Government pension scheme from its financial difficulties, including the setting up of the railway and telecoms pension schemes

The pension scheme of the Swiss Federal Government, Pensionskasse des Bundes (PKB), is working on a new investment strategy, says Peter Thomann, chief treasurer of the Swiss administration.

The scheme will invest for the first time in securities as soon as possible, he says. He has SFr15bn ($10bn) in assets that will need to be invested early next year by PKB and by the Swiss Rail pension scheme. In addition, Swisscom, the national telephone company, is starting an independent scheme (see below).

Although the Swiss Parliament has not yet approved the new law, Thomann is already seeking a portfolio manager for PKB. The portfolio management will be part of the treasury and he will act as supervisor.

PKB is by far the biggest of all Swiss pension schemes. It has accrued around SFr25bn in member contributions and interest, which would rise to SFr37bn when the Swiss government pays in to meet its liabilities.

The research on the liabilities involved has been completed, says Thomann, but the asset allocation has not yet been decided by the government. A government paper refers only to modern portfolio management". Two external advisers will be appointed as well as the global custodian in the next few months."